German Of The Day: Behindert

That’s what Germans are. Or at least one out of eight Germans are these days: Disabled.

Behindert

Not only are they getting more and more old and gray and in the way, they also seem to be doing so less gracefully.

Funny how the number could be so high here so quickly though, don’t you think (up 7 percent since 2009)? This couldn’t be another popular scam for some, could it? I’m so ashamed. How could I even think of such a thing?

Whatever it is, it reminds me of a German oddity I have observed here in Berlin: Oddity 168. If there were only two Germans left on earth, one would try to take advantage of the other by pulling out his “Schwerbeschädigter Ausweis” or disabled person ID. I was boarding a bus in Berlin once when two passengers got into a real argument over one of the seats reserved for the disabled by waving around their IDs and yelling back and forth at each other about who was the more disabled of the two. It came dangerously close to a real brawl. That made me wonder. Would the winner of the fight have then been disqualified for no longer being the most disabled one?

Gegenüber 2009 ist die Zahl der Menschen mit Behinderung um 7 Prozent beziehungsweise 673.000 Personen gestiegen.

Even When We Win We Lose

Or so it goes with SPD these days.

SPD

Germany’s Social Democrats, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners, on Sunday suffered their worst-ever electoral setback in regional polls in Bremen, raising questions about party leader Sigmar Gabriel’s hopes of gaining ground nationally on Ms Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats.

So sehen Sieger aus (this is what winners look like):

FDP

In Bremen ändern 6,5 Prozent für die FDP nicht viel. Im Bund aber eröffnet ihre Wiedererweckung Gedankenspiele für die Wahl 2017.

A Green Superpower?

Germany?

Coal

Germany is a superpower when it comes to setting ambitious goals. But it’s even better at burning coal.

Germany aims to generate 80% of its power from renewable sources by 2050 with nuclear being fully phased out by 2021. But given the costs associated with renewables and the challenge of replacing nuclear power efficiently, it is not clear that Germany will succeed in either of these goals…

The Germans have increasingly turned to coal as their power generation source of choice, especially U.S. coal. Today coal power plants are responsible for generating nearly half of Germany’s power, and numerous new plants are scheduled to come online in the next few years.

Overall, the increase in coal is likely to create a significant increase in airborne pollution and potentially stoke tension between Germany and its neighbors. But at the same time, if Germany wants to phase out nuclear power, coal is the only realistic option; a fact which some German politicians are starting to admit.

Border Patrol German-Style

German marines have rescued 200 (now over 400) refugees shortly after launching two ships to scour waters between Africa and Europe.

Border Patrol

The ship “Hessen” evacuated the boat in distress about 250 kilometers south of the Italian island Lampedusa. The refugees were brought to an Italian port, the German army said after discussions with Italian marine rescue officials.

The “Hessen,” along with the “Berlin,” also a Bundeswehr ship, were warned of a refugee distress situation on Monday morning. The ships had begun their search mission on Tuesday, when they sailed from Crete towards the sea area between Libya and Italy.

German Spies Spying For American Spies Shocked To Discover That American Spies Were Actually Of The Spy Variety

After years of close cooperation with the NSA, Germany’s BND has now suddenly reduced this cooperation upon finding out that the information they had been furnishing the NSA with was being used for espionage purposes.

Spies

“Who would have thought that?” asked one high-ranking German spy official with a paper bag on his head. “We all figured that that  list of 40,000 selectors (IP addresses, search terms and names) we at the BND used on behalf of the NSA had some other justification. I dunno. I personally assumed they wanted to order pizza or something. But to go and spy on other folks like that? No way. We don’t want anything to do with that kind of Scheiße.”

It still remains to be seen whether this list can be released, as that depends on what arrangements were made with the US by the then government [of Gerhard Schröder] after the dramatic events of September 11.

Do They Strike This Much In Greece?

European travelers have contended for weeks with the possibility that Greece’s dwindling finances might lead to empty ATMs. They should have concerned themselves instead with Germany.

ATM

While cash machines in Athens are still operating without any trouble, striking couriers in Berlin this week stopped filling ATMs, leading to a crunch for those trying to make withdrawals. And the open-ended labor dispute with a local security company means there’s no end in sight.

Berlin’s strike is the latest in a series of walkouts that have riled a nation more accustomed to mocking the labor strife which has so often beset neighboring France. A strike by train drivers that began Tuesday is paralyzing travel and clogging highways throughout Germany. That action follows a March walkout by pilots at Deutsche Lufthansa AG that led to flight cancellations for 220,000 people.

Our Espionage Doesn’t Stink

On the one hand, we as German spies only do nice spying and would never spy on friends much less on other other nice Germans like ourselves.

BND

But on the other hand, intelligence agencies are working to ensure the public’s safety and the German government will do everything it can to ensure that it can carry out its job.

“And this ability to carry out its duties in the face of international terrorism threats is done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies, and that includes first and foremost the NSA.”

Deutschland regt sich über eine Spionageaffäre auf. Dabei wäscht seit Jahrzehnten unter den westlichen Diensten eine Hand die andere. Wir sollten endlich realistisch mit dem Thema Sicherheit umgehen.

Germans To Be Replaced By Robots

Maybe this continued drop in Germany’s population isn’t such a bad thing after all. It will open up more employment opportunities for R2D2 & Co.

Robots

A study by ING-Diba Bank indicates that in the medium to long-term, 59 percent of German jobs are directly threatened by robotics and other technologies.

“We have taken the robot out of the cage.”

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